Letter: Please think about your neighbours with respiratory problems before lighting your bonfires or BBQs

This reader asks Islanders to be aware of the harm they might be causing to those with respiratory problems by lighting bonfires

garden bonfire smoke across the valley

OnTheWight always welcomes a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers – unsurprisingly they don’t always reflect the views of this publication. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and of course, your considered comments are welcome below.

This from a reader known to OnTheWight who would prefer to remain anonymous. Photo selected is illustrative and not related to the current situation. Ed

Like everyone else I’ve been home since the beginning of lockdown. I’ve also been self isolating for a week because I had an undiagnosed chest infection.

During the past two weeks there have been at least ten days in which people have been lighting fires locally.

These have been a combination of home fires, landowners burning on their farmland and (because of the fine weather this weekend) barbecues.

Adds to the suffering
As you can imagine, the smoke from these fires adds to the suffering of those dealing with chest infections or self isolating because of suspected Coronavirus (Covid-19).

When you’re healthy, lockdown probably seems like a great opportunity to enjoy a home fire in the evening or to clear gardens/land for Spring. But to anyone with respiratory problems or health concerns, being trapped indoors with smoke coming into your home, amplifies worry and inhibits healing.

Harm you might be causing
People on the Island are pulling together in all sorts of ways during this pandemic.

I think it’s important that people become aware that their choice to light a fire, whether indoors or out, also has an impact on the health of their immediate neighbours – some of whom may be vulnerable or self isolating.

Government Covid-19 guidance: Stay alert and stay safe
Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently (video tips).

Social distancing
It is recommended that you maintain at least a two metre gap (about 6.5ft) from people who are not from your household.

Seeking advice
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service that can tell if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

Image: Andrew under CC BY 2.0

Sunday, 5th April, 2020 9:12am


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Filed under: Island-wide, Letter to the Editor

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9 Comments on "Letter: Please think about your neighbours with respiratory problems before lighting your bonfires or BBQs"

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Rhos yr Alarch

So glad this has been highlighted. Had to turn back during my evening exercise the other day as someone in Mayfield Road had lit a bonfire. This is putting others at risk!

Thank you for this article, I suffer badly from the effects of smoke; it isn’t fun.The lighting of such garden bonfires may be thoughtlessness or they won’t pay to have garden waste disposed of by the council or indeed the disposal sites are closed and the journeys could be considered non- essential. The overnight bonfires don’t help, went outside just after 6 a.m. the other day and… Read more »
And it releases CO2 into the atmosphere. The habit of burning garden waste needs rethinking. Those pruning shrubs and hedges could be made aware that log piles left in garden attract wildlife, from invertebrates of many kinds to hedgehogs. Other wildlife feed on invertebrates. People should ask themselves, is it really necessary to light a fire? And do I prefer a neat and sterile garden to one… Read more »
Where can I get a Supersoaker ? !! Bonfires on the Isle of Wight are getting more frequent -7+ bonfires locally in the last 2 weeks alone Spoken to 2 of the culprits – they just laughed & other walked away. Both males 70+ Also have a friend in Seaview (not very well, covid symptoms) & coughing his lungs out from a similarlily inconsiderate neighbour having a… Read more »
Steve Goodman
Also illegal and inconsiderate for respiratory and other reasons; vehicles idling while stationary. One recent example; driver (male aged about 35) parked kerbside and close to a queue of people including an older lady – politely asked to turn off, aggressively refused, asked again loudly enough for others to be made aware of the situation, and was then convinced that compliance and civility were the correct responses.… Read more »

Illegal? I think not!
Inconsiderate? On a par with the pollution caused by a visit to the tip – if they were open?
How does this correlate to the trendy log burner brigade – are they illegal or just inconsiderate?

Steve Goodman
It’s illegal, as stated; I think you can think again, possibly after an easy online check. A related item, from a new Covid-19 deaths study covering four European countries which looked in particular at the association with nitrogen dioxide (which has been at illegal levels in most UK urban areas for a decade): “High levels of air pollution may be one of the contributors to deaths from… Read more »
Please don’t rely on the Guardian. No one is suggesting a bonfire in the middle of a built up area, and there is no law saying that bonfires are illegal. However, Smoke from a bonfire can be considered a Statutory nuisance. You could be fined if you light a fire and allow the smoke to drift across the road and become a danger to traffic, otherwise it… Read more »
Steve Goodman

Over the years, whenever someone was worried enough to ask me not to ‘rely’ on the Guardian, it’s always been because of the accurate reporting of some bs, incompetence, or other information somebody the supplicant supports would prefer that we didn’t all know about.

Which is one very good reason for continuing to use the Guardian.

And Private Eye.